Ahead of our third Ask Anything Q&A, looking at presenting your best self, we caught up with panellist and 2016 JCI UK National President Sarah Beckwith to find out about her experience.
Tell us about your expertise
When I first joined JCI, I was terrified of public speaking. With some persuasion, I attended some training and then started to take on leadership roles that involved speaking on a regular basis. I remember standing behind a lectern (in the House of Lords!) and shaking for my inauguration speech as London President. I was determined to do my outgoing speech without the lectern or any notes (or even a microphone as it turned out), and I did. I then realised how far I’d come, how much I’d started to enjoy public speaking and that I wanted to continue to improve, so I joined Toastmasters (a global public speaking organisation). I also established the JCI UK Public Speaking Academy as Personal Development Director in 2014 to help other members develop these skills. And now I’ve just started my own business as a trainer, helping other introverted professionals develop their speaking skills.
How long have you been a JCI member?
What’s the best thing about being a JCI member?
The other members. They help you learn, spur you on and give you unwavering support when you need it. I have met so many inspiring people through JCI, who I am grateful to call my friends. They’ve been an amazing community during lockdown and offered so much helpful advice as I’ve started out in my own business.
Tell us about a JCI highlight
When I was National President in 2016 I collected the 100% Efficiency Award for JCI UK from the World President at the World Congress in Canada. It was such a proud moment, receiving recognition that less than 10% of all national organisations obtained and a fitting testament to the incredible hard work undertaken by all the members, local chambers and national board team throughout that year.
How has JCI helped you in your career?
In so many different ways. I’ve developed so many skills including public speaking, chairing meetings, leading teams and just generally thinking about things in a different way, which helped me take on opportunities at work, I sincerely doubt I’d have had the confidence to put myself forwards for otherwise. And ultimately without JCI I never would have decided to change career from surveying to a portfolio career of speaking training and non-executive director roles.
There are more details on skills JCI has helped me develop on my blog for anyone interested:
This post was written by Zoe Toseland